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Freeway pursuit suspect hides in Van Nuys storm drain, is arrested

October 1, 2012 |  6:50 am

A man suspected of stealing a car was taken into custody early Monday after leading authorities on a high-speed freeway chase and hiding in a Van Nuys storm drain tunnel to avoid arrest.

The pursuit began about 4 a.m. in the San Fernando Valley when the suspect was found with a stolen white Jaguar, said Los Angeles police Sgt. Steve Gottschalk.

The suspect led police on area surface streets before speeding down the 405 Freeway — opened just hours before after the weekend Carmageddon closure — to West Los Angeles, Gottschalk said. At one point, KTLA reported, the suspect's car hit speeds of 120 mph.

The car returned to the 405 and, shortly before 5 a.m., stopped along the freeway in Van Nuys, television footage showed. The driver bailed out of the passenger side of the car and ran into a storm tunnel in the 8100 block of Haskell Avenue.

Officers surrounded the culvert and a K-9 unit was brought to the scene. The man was taken into custody about 6 a.m. as the police dog "was preparing to extricate" the suspect, Gottschalk said.

"The dog barked and he decided to come out," he said.

The suspect's name was not immediately available.


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— Kate Mather